Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120729

Financial Crisis
»America’s Coming Civil War — Makers vs. Takers
»Draghi Heavily Criticised by the German Press
»Greece: EU Gives Temporary Okay to Recapitalization of Banks
»Italy: 563 Uninsured Cars Seized in Prato in 6 Months
»Japan: Tokyo: Huge Trade Deficit in the First Six Months of 2012
»Spain: Catalonia Joins the Shipwreck
»Spain: Unemployment Tragedy, ‘They Robbed Our Future’
»Iraq War Veteran Disowns Purple Heart Medal in Protest Against Obama
»Obama’s Islamophilia Week
»Obama’s Armor of Evil
»Oregon Claims State Ownership Over All Rainwater-Ponds and Swales Restricted — Jail Time for Violators
»Peering Into Pandora’s Box
»Serious Questions Surround Colorado Shooting
»Were the Batman Murders a Covert Op?
Europe and the EU
»Italy: Formigoni Speaks Out in Support of Federalism
»Italy: Fish Wholesaler Dodged Taxes for a Total of 1.5 Mn Euros
»Italy: Southern Fashion-Store Owners Dodge €34mln of Taxes
»Italy: Women Playing ‘Operational’ Role in Calabrian Mafia
»Italy: Environment Minister Vows Support for Taranto Steelworks
»Spain to Recycle School Book for Ecology and Crisis
»The London Olympics — Celebrating Socialism, Shopping and Sentimental Societal Justice
»UK: Manchester University Installs Pray-O-Mat Prayer Booth
»UK:G4S Guard Faces Sack After He Spits at Afghanistan Hero and Brands Him… BABY KILLER
»Serbia: Dadic New Gov’t Approved by Parliament
»Serbia: Grey Economy Accounts for Nearly 1/3 of Trade
Middle East
»Saudi Arabia: Two Men Arrested for “Forced Conversion” Of a Young Woman: They Gave Her Religious Books
»Saudi Arabia: Shia Demonstrators Wounded and Arrested After They Take to the Streets Against the Saudi Regime
South Asia
»Four Soldiers Killed, 2 Injured in Thailand’s South
»Karnataka: More Anti-Christian Violence. An Appeal to the New President of India
Far East
»Philippines: Mindanao: 16 Dead in Clashes Between Army and Abu Sayyaf Islamic Extremists
»TSA Let 25 Illegal Aliens Attend Flight School Owned by Illegal Alien
»A Brief History & Description of Agenda 21
»Why the IOC Will Never Memorialize the ‘72 Munich Massacre

Financial Crisis

America’s Coming Civil War — Makers vs. Takers

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Abe Lincoln used those words in 1858 to describe a country that was careening toward civil war. Now we’re a house divided again and another civil war is coming, with the 2012 election as its Gettysburg.

Call it America’s coming civil war between the Makers and the Takers.

On one side are those who create wealth, America’s private sector—the very ones targeted by President Obama’s tax hikes announced Monday.

On the other are the public employee unions; left-leaning intelligentsia who see the growth of government as index of progress; and the millions of Americans now dependent on government through a growing network of government transfer payments, from Medicaid and Social Security to college loans and corporate bailouts and handouts (think GM and Solyndra).


That public sector—state, local, and federal — now consumes 40% of GDP, compared to 33% just twelve years ago. It’s brought us to the point where 48% of Americans are now on some form of government handout, from 44% when Obama took office—almost a fifth more than during the Reagan years. And too many of them have been programmed to believe they have no future unless the government takes more from the Makers — precisely what Obama promised on Monday.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Draghi Heavily Criticised by the German Press

(AGI) Berlin — The German press has attacked Mario Draghi, who yesterday assured that the ECB will defend the euro by any means. The progressive ‘Sueddeutsche Zeitung’ sees Mario Draghi’s solution as ‘weak, because it doesn’t solve any problems. On the contrary, once the fire has been put out in the countries in crisis, the desire for reform will also quickly end. In addition we should add that the ECB is risking taxpayers’ money without being democratically legitimised’. The conservative ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’ argues that with the steps envisaged by the ECB president, ‘the debt crisis would not be resolved, because this can only happen if states put their budgets in order and make their economies more competitive’. The conservative ‘Die Welt’ was harsh in its criticism, arguing that ‘the ECB has shown itself to be a Trojan horse, which no longer defends principles, but a Europe led by the south. The consequence will be redistribution at the expense of the north without solving any problems’.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]

Greece: EU Gives Temporary Okay to Recapitalization of Banks

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, JULY 27 — The EU Commission gave its temporary green light to the recapitalization of the main Greek banks — Alpha Bank, EFG Eurobank, Piaeus Bank and National Bank of Greece — through the Hellenic financial stability fund.

“Greek banks are currently operating under extreme conditions, the bridge recapitalization by the Hellenic fund ensures the stability of the Greek banking sector”, said Joaquin Almunia, the commissioner responsible for competition.

Athens’ institutes of credit have experienced significant losses and a deterioration of their capital after participating in the exchange programme of Greek bonds, Brussels explained. With the recapitalization, it will instead be possible to bring the level of capital up in order for Greek banks to function on the market and bring up to 8 percent the Core-tier 1 ratio.

State aid will be controlled by Brussels to verify whether they are in line with EU regulations.

The commission also temporarily approved aid to the Proton Bank until it takes a final decision on the restructuration of the Nea Proton Bank, the new bank created with the operation.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: 563 Uninsured Cars Seized in Prato in 6 Months

(AGI) Prato — Over 563 uninsured cars have been seized in Prato by the city’s Municipal Police in the first 6 months of 2012, with an average of 3.1 cars a day. In the whole of last year 687 cars were seized for the same reason. A statement from the municipality informs that the comparison proves that over six months, the number of car owners who cannot or will not pay for their insurance has almost doubled, also due to the economic crisis affecting the entire country.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]

Japan: Tokyo: Huge Trade Deficit in the First Six Months of 2012

A deficit of 2900 billion yen. The causes are the high prices of gas and oil (and the increase in imports of crude oil, after the disaster in Fukushima) and the slowdown in exports to U.S., Europe, China. Strong currency inhibits exports.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) — In the first half of this year Japan has scored a record trade deficit 37.3 billion dollars (2900 billion yen). Analysts attribute the painful results to rising energy costs and the reduction in exports to major markets like U.S., Europe and China.

The country is also trying to recover from the effects of the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear crisis of 2011. But these problems were added to a rise in energy costs, with increases of 50% in gas prices and 16% in oil. Japan in fact, after the Fukushima crisis, is trying to meet the energy needs through fossil fuels. In the past year, imports of crude oil more than doubled.

In the first six months of 2012 imports increased by 7.4%, while exports grew by only 1.5%. The Ministry of Finance noted that exports have declined especially of semiconductors and cars to Europe, as well as to China.

In one year, exports to the EU fell by 21.3%; to China by 7.3%.

Japan fears that trade to the U.S. — which rose 15% in June — could be reduced due to the global crisis. Moreover, its currency, too strong and “overrated”, is rendering its exports expensive.

In the month of June, the country recorded a trade balance surplus of 61.7 billion yen (789 million U.S. dollars). This is mainly due to lower oil prices. However, the slowdown in exports remains a source of concern.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]

Spain: Catalonia Joins the Shipwreck

El País, El Mundo, El Periódico de Catalunya, La Vanguardia

The request for financial aid addressed to Spain’s central government by the region of Catalonia will further compound the debt crisis for the entire country. The press in Madrid and Barcelona points out that it has also highlighted the budgetary excesses of Spain’s regions.

“Catalonia asks for bailout”, headlines El País in the wake of the announcement by the President of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Artur Mas, to the effect that the region is to request financial assistance from Madrid. One of the wealthiest Spanish regions, Catalonia is also the most indebted with borrowings of 42 billion euros, which will have to be serviced by payments totalling €5.7bn in 2012. Following in the footsteps of Valencia and Murcia, it will be the third region to require funding from Spain’s €18 billion regional liquidity fund (FLA).

What the headline in the El País editorial terms the “regional crisis” has emerged at a time when Spain and the eurozone are battling with extremely adverse economic conditions. The yield spread between interest rates on German and Spanish debt has reached the record level of 6.5%, while the interest on Spanish government 10-year bonds has risen to an unsustainable 7.6%. Catalonia’s request for assistance has highlighted the fact that —

…the regions have now entered a critical phase of the financial crisis, whose most immediate and most serious consequence will be to further undermine investor confidence in Spanish sovereign debt.

The region’s are responsible, remarks the daily, which also believes that Mariano Rajoy’s government should share some of the blame —

For years, the regions have systematically failed to meet their economic targets and have allowed their debt to accumulate with the complicity of successive governments, which, either for political reasons or as a result of simple negligence, forgot that regions should respect their commitments on spending deficits. But what has really appalled both the general public and investors is the chaotic nature of the relations between the central and regional governments. […] Madrid was unable to obtain a clear picture of the regions’ finances. Along with other reasons, this failure led to a situation where there is no solution.

Headlining with “Catalonia acknowledges collapse”‘, Madrid daily El Mundo is harshly critical of regional politicians who should “cut back on all that is superfluous” —

No one will understand why the general population should make efforts to finance these bailouts, while regional leaders preserve their power structures intact. We have yet to see how the regions will respond to their dramatic situation. Central government has demonstrated a much greater commitment to conditions required by Brussels […] In view of the regions’ opposition to the dismantling of their superfluous infrastructure [television channels, “embassies” and other institutions copied from the nation state], the government will have to take the matter in hand. […] If Rajoy does not succeed in reining in the regions now that they are bankrupt, he will be making a mistake that will haunt him for years to come.

For their part, the Catalan newspapers emphasise that the bailout has come at a time when the regional parliament is debating the “fiscal pact” that will provide the basis for talks with Madrid on Catalonia’s participation in the national fiscal system. Inspired by the exceptional deal obtained by the Basque country, Catalonia is hoping to reduce its contribution to the funding of other regions and to gain control of further economic resources.

However, as the El Periódico headline points out, Catalonia is “neither rich nor full,” which is why the newspaper’s director Enric Hernández believes that the issue of “the fiscal pact should be set aside” —

Just as a drowning man is not in a position to demand concessions from someone who throws him a lifebelt, it is hardly strategic to demand the keys to the cash drawer at a time when the region will have to submit to the diktats of the Ministry for Economy and Finance. The most appropriate option for Catalonia would be to keep alive the demand for negotiations on the fiscal pact, but to postpone talks until its circumstances have changed.

According to La Vanguardia “the Generalitat [the regional government] has taken the critical step of demanding financial aid from the state in exchange for reduced autonomy.” The Barcelona daily goes on to establish an ironic parallel with Mariano Rajoy’s description of the rescue programme for Spanish banks that was approved by the EU —

The Catalan government insists that this is neither a bailout nor an [external] intervention, but a simple line of credit with conditions solely focused on the sum borrowed. This is exactly what Rajoy said about the bank bailout whose conditions were later revealed. And the outcome of this is well-known.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]

Spain: Unemployment Tragedy, ‘They Robbed Our Future’

One in four Spaniards out of a job, highest rate since Franco

(ANSAMed) — MADRID — “They have robbed us of our future and our children of theirs,” said Chus Blanco, 50, a single mother of three. Along with an army of Spaniards of all ages, she’s standing in line at the Avenida del Mediterraneo employment office, in the southern part of the city.

Blanco, who joined the workforce at 17, was laid off two years ago from an Italian legal office, where she had worked as an accountant for 20 years. “They were downsizing, and that was their only explanation,” she said. “I looked for a similar job for a year, then tried odd jobs, like waitressing. They told me I was too old and educated. My unemployment benefits are running out, I got an eviction notice because I can’t pay the mortgage, and my kids will have to leave school. How can I not fall into despair?” Spain’s unemployed reached 5,693,100 in the second trimester, the highest figure since Franco’s dictatorship, according to the national statistics bureau. One in 4 Spaniards, or 24.6% of the adult population, is out of work. In Andalusia, that rate is 33.9% and in the Canaries, 33.3%. The city of Ceuta, which is the Spanish enclave in Morocco, has the highest rate of unemployment in the EU-27, or 39%.

And for Spain’s youth, that figure reaches 53.28%. Rodrigo Saenz, 26, belongs to the so-called generacion perdida, or lost generation. He has an MB in management, but since he’s never worked, he has no right to unemployment benefits, and his welfare is running out. “I live with my parents and my two brothers,” he explains. “My father, who worked at Caja Madrid for 24 years, just lost his job. My mother is a high school teacher, but her temp contract wasn’t renewed. We’re all living on my grandfather’s pension, and who knows how long that will last.” Saenz’s is one of the 1,737,600 families in which every adult member is out of work. “We thought we were safe, that it would never happen to us,” he said. “In three years everything changed. We’ve become poor. We’re counting pennies. We hardly ever eat meat any more.” Susana, 32, just landed a 10-week gig behind a cosmetics counter in a mall. With a degree in management and finance, she’s never come close to a steady job in her sector. “I landed three one-month substitutions, so I’ll be working from August 1 to September 15, under three different contracts,” she said.

“And believe me, I feel privileged.” Spain’s GDP will contract 2% in 2012, according to the government, and the recession is likely to last through 2014.

Meanwhile, the industrial sector lost 21,000 jobs and agriculture lost 44,000 between April and June. Seasonal upsurges in employment (+42,800 in the tourism service sector, +6,500 in construction) brought some short-term relief. But for most people, the outlook remains gloomy as the government’s 65 billion euro austerity measures cut swathes through the country, with 63,000 public employees laid off from April to June. Spain’s two major unions, Comisiones Obreras (CC OO) and Union General de Trabajadores (UGT) accuse the Mariano Rajoy administration of having launched a second massive labor reform, after the one passed by his Socialist predecessor, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. “And it’s sole effect is that of multiplying layoffs and terminations times five,” union sources said. “The government will continue to try to improve this situation, which undoubtedly is caused by the recession, by reducing the deficit and continuing its structural reforms,” Deputy Premier Soraya Sanz de Santamaria countered on Friday.

But the medicine could end up killing the patient: even the European Commission put its two cents in, today exhorting Spain to reduce an unmployment rate it defined as “unacceptable.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Iraq War Veteran Disowns Purple Heart Medal in Protest Against Obama

An Iraq War veteran has decided to make a symbolic gesture to protest the disintegration of the United States and the United States military under Barack Obama.

In the early voting for the Texas primary runoff elections, a decorated ex-Iraq Navy veteran, with severe scarring and serious wounds, came to vote at the Franz Road location in Katy, Texas. Not only did he want to vote, he wanted to make sure a few people understood how seriously he took this election. He first encountered the lone Democrat at the location entrance, who asked him to consider voting for a Democrat in November. He immediately denounced the Democrat party and the President himself.

“I was in Iraq under Bush, and earned a Purple Heart and a War on Terrorism, Expeditionary Medal. But they were sent to me by Obama. Obama is ruining this country and he is ruining the military.”

Kimberly Self, the wife of GOP candidate for the 152nd District Judge position, was standing nearby and she mentioned that her husband was a decorated veteran, and how much they appreciated his service. He explained how much he loved his country, and showed scars from the conflicts for which the medals were awarded. Then, addressing the Democratic campaign poll worker, he expressed how disgusted he has become with the direction of the country and particularly the state of the military under Barack Obama, fearing our country would no longer be recognizable in four more years under the current regime.

Turning to Ms. Self he said, “I’ve got them with me you know. The medals Obama sent me.” He then went back to his motorcycle and retrieved the two medals. He handed them to Kimberly Self who wasn’t quite sure what his point was at first.

“Give them to someone else. “I don’t want them anymore. Take ‘em.”

Kimberly again tried to return them reiterating that he had earned these medals for his country. One of the most bothersome things to this Iraq veteran was that, although it provides some of the poorest care among medical institutions, his Veteran Administration health co-pays were going to go up by over $600.

“I now have to pay more money for the wounds I incurred on behalf of my country while Obama is trying to give away care to illegal immigrants. Give my medals to the VFW then or something, I don’t want anything to do with him.”

No one on site thought to ask his name, but they reminded him that they would be at the polling location all week and urged him to reconsider and come back to retrieve them. He seemed firm in his decision, and drove away after voting.

Veterans overwhelmingly support Mitt Romney over Barack Obama 58 percent to 34 percent. Military members have protested a number of moves by the Obama in the past couple of years. Among them:

  • Obama cut military healthcare benefits while leaving public service union workers untouched.
  • VA unpaid claims have quadrupled under Obama.
  • Obama originally only proposed military cuts during the budget debt ceiling debate, resulting in $1 Trillion of cuts while fundamental entitlement — the real cause — is avoided.
  • Calling Islamic Jihad at Ft. Hood, “workplace violence.”
  • Obama gashes military retirement for career officers.
  • Obama cutting alarming numbers of armed force personnel.
  • Obama pushed for a military member to participate in full dress for a political event for the first time in US history — and it was for a gay pride parade.
  • Obama attempted to force military chaplains to conduct gay marriage ceremonies.
  • Obama rescinds support for Operation Christmas Child at the Air Force Academy, but approves the building of new satanic worship center.
  • Obama closes classes by military chaplains on “just war” theory and prohibits notification of services by chaplains for military members.

Obama Administration attacks alleged military abuses and apologizes to the enemy combatants without making a moral case for the defense of the troops.

Obama administration and Department of Defense refuse to report Afghan attacks on military.

Many have noted that Obama himself displays a contempt for traditional military traditions. Many still can’t stomach Obama’s “corpse-man” gaff when referring to Marine Corpsman.

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]

Obama’s Islamophilia Week

While he wages a culture war on Christians, the president tells Americans not to worry about global Islam.

Last week Barack Obama marked the beginning of Ramadan by saying to Muslims that the “United States continues to stand with those who seek the chance to decide their own destiny, to live free from fear and violence, and to practice their faith freely.” While he undercuts Christianity at home — under his Obamacare abortifacient/contraceptive mandate, resistant Catholic and Protestant schools, hospitals, and charities will soon face crushing fines — he never fails to tout Islam abroad.

One would think his allies at the ACLU might cringe at his lavish tributes to global Islam as a great and blameless religion and his “Iftar dinners” at the White House. But they don’t. His undiluted enthusiasm for Islam, which amounts to a case of Islamophilia, never triggers any of the usual separation-of-church-and-state objections and anxieties from them.

The elite’s pooh-poohing of questions from Congressmen this week about Huma Abedin’s well-documented familial ties to the Muslim Brotherhood is an outgrowth of this Islamophilia. Under its chic influence, enlightened Americans are simply not supposed to care about such matters. Rather, they should welcome global Islam’s reach into the White House and the State Department. After all, “jihad” is merely a harmless concept of self-improvement, “a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community,” as Obama security adviser John Brennan has confidently put it.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama’s Armor of Evil

For quite a while now, I’ve referred to President Barack Obama as a communist — not a progressive (which he has said he is), a liberal or a socialist — but a communist. It only made sense, given that the man was bred, raised and mentored by communists, employed and was employed by communists, eagerly fraternized with communists and diligently studied communism throughout his entire adult life. Even if one ignores his life before political office, there’s certainly enough remaining evidence of Obama’s communistic bent, most notably his “crowning achievement” of Obamacare and his administration’s insinuation into American industry. I believe in telling it like it is, and I see no reason to soft pedal communism for the sake of professional decorum — and certainly not for political correctness.

Liberals have a very pat, sophisticated response to the charge of Obama being a communist; so pat and sophisticated, in fact, that one might think each and every one had received a memo on the appropriate response.

1. Roll your eyes and smirk. 2. State “no, he’s not.”

Unfortunately, many otherwise rational Americans’ assessments of Obama have been predicated upon what he says he is, as opposed to what he demonstrates he is. To this day, they hold those of us who are willing to employ “the c-word” as completely delusional.

If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen …

— Barack Obama, July 13, 2012


The point is that the sentiments and the rationale expressed by Obama are more than illogical, they are unvarnished communist propaganda.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Oregon Claims State Ownership Over All Rainwater-Ponds and Swales Restricted — Jail Time for Violators

There’s nothing more refreshing than standing in a cool, summertime rain shower. Or bathing in the warm sunlight on a crisp spring day. Or inhaling the cool autumn air, fresh with the scent of turning leaves and pine needles. These things — rainwater, sunlight, air — have long been assumed to be not only free, but un-claimable. You can’t claim to own the sunlight that falls on my front yard, for example. A corporation can’t claim intellectual property ownership over the air that you breathe and demand you pay a royalty for inhaling.

But today, Jackson County, Oregon says it owns YOUR rainwater, and the county has sentenced a man to 30 days in jail and fined him over $1500, for the supposed “crime” of collecting rainwater on his own property.

The man’s name is Gary Harrington, and he owns over 170 acres of land in Jackson County. On that land, he has three ponds, and those ponds collect rainwater that falls on his land. Common sense would say Gary has every right to have ponds with water on his 170 acres of land, but common sense has been all but abandoned in the state of Oregon.

Much like California, Oregon is increasingly becoming a collectivist state. You didn’t build that! The government built that! You don’t own that! The government owns that! That rainwater that just fell on your land? That’s the government’s rainwater, and you’re going to jail if you try to steal from the government!

That’s the explanation from Jackson County officials, who initially granted Harrington “permits” to build ponds back in 2003. Yes, in Oregon you actually need to beg for permission from the government just to have a pond on your own land. But the state of Oregon revoked his permits a few years later, after he had already created the ponds, thus putting Harrington in the position of being a “water criminal” who was “stealing” rainwater from the state.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Peering Into Pandora’s Box

Part II: Serious questions surround Colorado shooting

Dr. Randall Strandquist, a licensed forensic psychologist, offered interesting analysis and commentary about the behavior of suspect James Holmes.

I asked forensic psychologist Dr. Randall Strandquist about mind control and hypnosis, a subject I viewed with a great amount of distrust until I saw a stage act in Las Vegas many years ago that involved audience participation. I’ll spare the details, but I became convinced on that day that mind control is very possible. Given the odd behavior of the suspect, I broached the subject with Dr. Strandquist. What follows is his response.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Serious Questions Surround Colorado Shooting

Radio chatter between officers and between officers to dispatch over the next 90 seconds notes the positions of shooting victims in theater 9.

At 12:49 a.m. (0049), an officer states that “one of the shooters might be wearing a white and blue plaid shirt.” Note that this suggests that there might be more than one assailant or perpetrator. At the same time, an officer states “I’ve got a child victim and need a car at the back of theater 9.”


Clearly, radio communications from officers at the scene strongly indicate that the responding police officers believed that more than one suspect was involved based on their observations at the scene and in spite of the utterances of the suspect. The possibility that more than one person was involved is later supported by the presence of other, duplicate equipment, including an second gas mask found at the NE corner of the theater complex— approximately 25 parking slots away from the alleged shooter’s vehicle.

Although it is normal for first reports to be incorrect or due to the chaos and conflicting eyewitness accounts, it is obvious that the radio traffic identifies two separate vehicles, at least two distinctly different individuals or suspects, and more equipment than carried by a single suspect.


One of the detaining officers reported that James Holmes claimed he was alone (which may or may not have been true) but the officer did not believe him, based on reports from eye witnesses describing the shooter. The fact that the officer’s inclination is to believe James Holmes is lying gives us information about James Holmes’ presentation at the time.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Were the Batman Murders a Covert Op?

(NaturalNews) The obvious way to begin an investigation is to look at the event itself for any obvious contradictions or unexplained details.

For example, in the Batman murders, we have two witnesses who were in the theater and implied there were accomplices.

One witness, Corbin Dates (aka Dayton), told Aurora news outlets a man sitting in the front row took a cell phone call and went to a side exit, propped the door open with his foot, and seemed to be signaling somebody. Ten to 15 minutes later, James Holmes appeared in full gear with weapons as the exit door swung open The other witness (no name as yet) stated that, during the massacre, a gas canister was thrown from a direction where Homes wasn’t. [youtube urls]

Despite the statements of these apparent witnesses, Aurora Chief of Police Daniel Oates claims he is sure James Holmes acted alone.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Italy: Formigoni Speaks Out in Support of Federalism

(AGI) Milan- Speaking at a press conference in Milan, the president of the Lombardy Region, Robero Formigoni said that if the government turns away from federalism, solidarity between regions will be at risk. “Ours is just a warning, a yellow card for the government,” said Formigoni,. “The government should accept the amendments to the spending review proposed by the regions since they are balanced and abolish obvious unfairness.” The governor of Lombardy added that “if the government does not accept federalism, the use of standard costs and a distinction between virtuous and non-virtuous regions, it will put at risk solidarity between the regions.

Lombardy alone contributes 54% of the fund for solidarity between regions.” .

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]

Italy: Fish Wholesaler Dodged Taxes for a Total of 1.5 Mn Euros

(AGI) Cagliari — Carlo Sitzia, a fish wholesaler in Cagliari is accused of having dodged taxes for a total of 1,5 mn Euros. His assets, totalling 1,5 mn Euros, have been frozen. The pre-emptive seizure (30,000 euros and bonds) has been ordered by Cagliari’s justice for preliminary investigations, Giampaolo Casula, following the request of prosecutor Paolo De Angelis.

The measure was taken following financial investigations into the wholesaler’s firm, linked to the retail company owned by his sons Massimo and Noemi, who run “OceanMedFish” in Cagliari and who were reported a few years ago for fraud. .

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]

Italy: Southern Fashion-Store Owners Dodge €34mln of Taxes

Reggio Calabria, 24 July (AKI) — A prominent business family which owns a string of designer fashion stores in the southern city of Reggio Calabria owes the Italian state 34 million euros in unpaid taxes, police said on Tuesday.

The family dodged 30 million euros in unpaid income tax and a further four million euros in value added tax (VAT).

A 58-year-old businessman from the city, referred to as M.U., and his wife and two sons, who own the various stores, were all reported to judicial authorities for tax evasion and false accounting.

A probe began in December last year after police discovered the family’s various stoes in Reggio Calabria’s main shopping street had issued virtually no receipts for the garments and fashion accessories on sale.

The family also owns upmarket fashion stores in the picturesque eastern Sicilian coastal town of Taormina and the Adriatic resort of Riccione.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]

Italy: Women Playing ‘Operational’ Role in Calabrian Mafia

Reggio Calabria, 16 July (AKI) — The arrest of a Cabrian mafia boss’s wife Monday shows the operational role that women are playing in the criminal organisation, according to the acting chief prosecutor in Reggio Calabria.

“This once again confirms the role women are having operationally and in handing down cultural models and disvalues,” said Ottavio Sferlazza.

According to investigators, Giuseppa Giampaolo was involved in running the Pelle di San Luca clan’s affairs after the arrest of her husband Antonio Pelle in June, 2009 and previously helped him hide from police while he was on the run.

Giamapaolo was among 26 mafia suspects arrested on Monday in Reggio Calabria and in the northern Piedmont region and has been granted house arrest.

Also arrested in Monday’s operation were family members Domenico Pelle, Sebastiano Pelle and Giuseppe Pelle — whose home was a regular meeting-point for Calabrian mafia suspects, investigators said.

Local electricians and mechanics also aided the Pelle di San Luca clan by checking if clan members cars had any police bugging devices planted inside, according to investigators.

The Calabrian mafia or ‘Ndrangheta is one of Italy’s most powerful criminal organisations and has ‘colonised’ the north of Italy due to its virtually unlimted financial resources, Italy’s anti-mafia directorate said in a recent report.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]

Italy: Environment Minister Vows Support for Taranto Steelworks

‘We want production to continue’ says Clini

(See related articles) (ANSA) — Rome, July 27 — Italian Environment Minister Corrado Clini declared the government’s intention to keep the ILVA steel plant in production on a Friday.

“We want production to continue,” Clini said told Italian news channel Tgcom24. “The cabinet of ministers has confirmed its commitment by signing a memorandum of understanding, and the government is working to uphold it,” Clini added, making reference to a government pledge Thursday to allocate 336 million euros for environmental clean-up and recovery. On Thursday, a Taranto judge ordered the shutdown of six areas of Italy’s largest steel plant — which press reports say provides roughly 30% of Italy’s steel needs — along with the house arrest of eight managers and ex-managers, including the plant’s owner Emilio Riva.

Judge Patrizia Todisco charged that the steel plant’s toxic fumes and dust have gravely endangered the lives of people and animals in the area since 1995. The judge’s actions have unleashed the protest of thousands of steel workers worried for their jobs, as well as outcry from unions and the steel industry.

Environmentalists, doctors and the mayor of Taranto view the shutdown order and arrest warrant as the first sign of remediation and accountability to an ongoing, unmitigated environmental disaster.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Spain to Recycle School Book for Ecology and Crisis

(AGI) Alicante — An ecological idea to aid the environment, reduce waste and soften expenses for families. For the up-coming scholastic year, a school in Alicante, Spain is promoting the recycling of textbooks. At the close of this year’s lessons, the Istituto Nostra Signora di Monserrate in Orihuela decided to acquire and hold in the school’s offices, all the student textbooks, which will be redistributed to the classes for the new school year 2012-2013.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]

The London Olympics — Celebrating Socialism, Shopping and Sentimental Societal Justice

London, England-It’s the morning after the night before. The games are open, national pride is in full bloom and Danny Boyle, the Oscar winning director Slumdog Millionaire and the deeply disturbing Trainspotting is the hero du jour. The creative mind behind the opening ceremony has got a unanimous national pat on the back for his efforts as a global audience of 4 billion got to watch London awash in a sentimental lovefest of its cultural touch points. The papers are orgasmic with reports of the “best ever opening ceremony” amidst calls for Boyle’s knighthood.

But scratch the surface beneath the parade of iconic double decker buses, Big Ben and Tower Bridge, and you will find that ruling the night was a worship of socialism, wrapped up in a creed of sentimental societal justice, all laced with sinister elements that made this viewer cringe. If Labour’s Tony Blair were still PM he would have dubbed it the ‘People’s opening ceremony’.

Boyle’s vision was of the great revolutions in British society, starting with an agrarian idyll of country cottages and village cricket of yesteryear, complete with maypole dancing and ladies tossing apples into one another’s apron, in meadows filled with well behaved ducks and geese. I have lived here for 30 years and have never heard of the apron apple toss. The commentators in Luanda or Ashgabat were surely scratching their heads over this simplistic nostalgia that grips the heart of every Brit every time it is wheeled out, despite reflecting hardship that much of the world yearns to leave behind.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Manchester University Installs Pray-O-Mat Prayer Booth

The Pray-O-Mat features more than 300 recorded prayers

A multi-faith praying machine called the Pray-O-Mat has been installed at the University of Manchester.

The specially converted photo booth offers more than 300 pre-recorded prayers and incantations in 65 different languages via a touch screen.

The free-to-use machine, designed by German artist Oliver Sturm, is part of a three-year project on multi-faith spaces by the university.

Prayer choices include Aborigine devotional songs and Jewish chants.

The machine also features Our Father in German and English, and Buddhist and Islamic prayers among others.

A research team has visited almost 250 multi-faith spaces in the UK and abroad collecting prayers.

Project leader Ralf Brand, senior architecture lecturer, said: “Though the Pray-o-mat is a bit tongue-in-cheek, there is a serious message to what we’re doing.

“Successful multi-faith spaces do not need to be flashy or expensive.

“In many places a small, clean and largely unadorned space can serve adequately.”

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

UK:G4S Guard Faces Sack After He Spits at Afghanistan Hero and Brands Him… BABY KILLER

AN Olympic guard faces the sack for spitting at an Army hero drafted in to boost security — and yelling: “Baby killer.”

The Asian G4S worker flipped as he patrolled an archery contest at Lord’s cricket ground with the Afghan veteran.

A source said: “This security guard was ranting and raving at the soldier.

“He was trying to defuse the situation but the guard was going crazy. He spat at the soldier and screamed at him. He was calling him a baby killer.

“He left the soldier in no doubt he meant he’d been responsible for children’s deaths while serving in Afghanistan.

On patrol … G4S guards at Lord’s. Neither of the men were involved in the row

“Despite the provocation, the soldier remained ice cool and didn’t lose his calm.

“Some of their respective colleagues arrived and the guard was removed.”

Bosses at security company G4S — which had to be bailed out by troops after failing to supply enough guards for London 2012 — yesterday said an urgent investigation was under way.

G4S … providing Olympic security

The firm said the soldier from 35 Engineers had at some point asked to search the guard. It did not reveal why. The incident occurred behind the scenes on Saturday evening as spectators watched Italy beat the United States to win Olympic gold.

Scotland Yard said no criminal allegations had been made. Ex-Helmand commander Colonel Richard Kemp said: “This is an absolute disgrace.

“A soldier shouldn’t have to put up with this terrible insult. If there’s any possibility of a prosecution, then it should go ahead.”

G4S are understood to be waiting to see if the soldier makes a complaint.

Aiming to help … soldiers on Olympic duty leave Lord’s, which hosts archery competition

Louis Wood

The firm said: “We are urgently investigating allegations that a security officer spat on the ground in front of a soldier and insulted him after he was searched.

“We do not tolerate insulting behaviour and where necessary appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.”

The MoD yesterday confirmed an incident had occurred. The military plugged the gap left by G4S with 4,700 troops.

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]


Serbia: Dadic New Gov’t Approved by Parliament

Nationalist and socialist coalition “looks to the future”

(ANSAMed) — BELGRADE — Serbia’s nationalist conservative and Socialist coalition government was approved by Parliament on Friday. After a debate which began last night and ended well into the small hours, a majority of 142 representatives voted in favor of the new administration led by Socialist Ivica Dacic, while 72 voted against and 26 were absent. The coalition was voted into power in general elections on May 6. A wartime spokesman of late strongman Slobodan Milosevic, Dacic, who is also to be interior minister, told Parliament his government looks to the future and not the past. His administration will speed up the process of joining the EU, balance the country’s budget, continue the dialogue with Kosovo, and promote reconciliation in the Balkans. “Serbia wants to be an element of peace and stability in the Balkans, and will resolve disputes peacefully,” Dacic said, adding that his government will be not be aligned with Russia, the US, or the EU, but only with itself.

The new ruling coalition is made up of President Tomislav Nikolic’s nationalist Serbian Progressive Party, Dacic’s Socialists, and the technocratic United Regions Party.

United Regions leader Mladjan Dinkic, who played rock guitar at rallies against Milosevic, becomes finance minister, while fellow party member Suzana Grubjasic is in charge of European integration. The new foreign minister is Ivan Mrkic, a career diplomat who was ambassador in Cyprus under Milosevic, and the defense ministry goes to Aleksandar Vucic, from the Serbian Progressive Party.

This is Serbia’s 12th government since the multiparty system was introduced in 1990, and will have 17 ministries. The opposition has protested the government’s decision to abolish the ministry for Kosovo, turning it into one of four special offices. The remaining three are human rights, religious affairs, and diaspora.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Serbia: Grey Economy Accounts for Nearly 1/3 of Trade

(ANSAmed) — BELGRADE, JULY 24 — Illegal trading activities account for nearly one-third of overall trade in Serbia, to the great detriment of the state, economy and consumers, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS) announced.

Grey economy has almost 30 percent stake in the overall trading activities, Secretary of the PKS Trade Association Gordana Hasimbegovic said.

The most common forms of illegal trade are the sale of goods via ads, at the open markets and street stands, in unregistered shops and illegal distribution centers, home sale, she underlined, adding that a large number of workers is in the shadow labour market.

Serbia’s shadow economy is the most active in the cities, the area of Novi Pazar, border areas with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, and administrative zone with Kosovo, Hasimbegovic said.

She is of the opinion that in order to counter the grey economy in a successful way, Serbia needs an adequate legal framework, efficient judiciary, more stringent monitoring of goods from their entry into the country to the sale.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Saudi Arabia: Two Men Arrested for “Forced Conversion” Of a Young Woman: They Gave Her Religious Books

Girl’s father denounces act. She is now in Lebanon and refuses to return and abandon Christianity. Two colleagues charged, one Saudi and one Lebanese.

Riyadh (AsiaNews) — Two men have been arrested in the Saudi Gulf city Al-Khobar, on charges of “forcible conversion” of a girl to Christianity. They are guilty of giving her books on religion and inviting her to follow a chat room about religious matters.

According to Al-Eqtisadiya newspaper the girl’s father laid charges against the two men, one Saudi and one Lebanese, after he failed to convince the young woman to return home from Lebanon and abandon her new faith.

According to the local Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution (BIP), the story dates back to when the young woman, who works in a bank, struck up a friendship first with her Saudi colleague and then the other Lebanese colleague. The three would meet up from time to time, the girl fell in love with the young Lebanese who gave her books and invited her to follow a religious chat room.

In the complaint, the father says that man influenced her, inspiring misconceptions about Islam and had “shaken her convictions.” He claims that the girl also left the country illegally. Under Saudi law, in fact, a woman can not have a passport without the permission of her “guardian” that is, father, husband or brother.

The girl, speaking from Lebanon where she currently is, defends her new faith and says that the Church is her only home.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia: Shia Demonstrators Wounded and Arrested After They Take to the Streets Against the Saudi Regime

The protest broke out in Qatif, Eastern Province, a minority Shia stronghold. Mohammed al-Shakouri is among the people detained. He was wanted by the authorities. Saudi Arabia backs the anti-Assad uprising in Syria but crushes in blood its own domestic dissenters.

Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Saudi security forces have opened fire against demonstrators after the latter took to the streets in Qatif (Al-Sharqiyya or Eastern Province) to demand democratic reforms and the release of political prisoners.

With hundreds of people invading city streets, shouting slogans and setting tyres on fire, anti-riot police responded firing rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

Scores were wounded and dozens were arrested, including Mohammed al-Shakouri, described by the Interior Ministry as a wanted fugitive because he was among 23 men named as suspects in connection with the January disturbances in the Eastern Province.

The authorities accused demonstrators of possessing illegal weapons, opening fire on the public and police as well as serving “foreign agendas” to overthrow the established order.

The Qatif demonstration was organised to demand the release of political prisoners, including Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

The protests that have intensified in recent days pit the Shia minority, which is concentrated in oil-rich eastern Saudi Arabia, and the Saudi ruling family, which is Sunni and Wahhabi.

The start of protests dates back to March 2011. They broke out in the wake of unrest in Bahrain, a small Gulf state with a Shia majority ruled by a Sunni royal family. Eventually, Saudi troops and other Gulf forces were brought in to quell the disturbances, which they did with loss of life.

As AsiaNews noted in an article last year, the intervention of Saudi Arabia and Qatar effectively snuffed out the Arab spring, the movement of popular protests that sought to change the societies of North Africa and the Middle East.

The movement’s failure is thus not due to religious fundamentalism, but to the strength of a political power that “submits” religion to its rule, said Prof Madawi al-Rasheed of King’s College London.

At present, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are the main Arab backers of the war against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, finding moral and material support among extremist Muslim groups fighting the Alawi-controlled regime in Damascus.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Four Soldiers Killed, 2 Injured in Thailand’s South

PATTANI, Thailand: Four Thai soldiers were shot to death at close range Saturday in a brazen daylight attack carried out by suspected Muslim insurgents in Thailand’s violence-prone south. Two soldiers were wounded.

Video footage of the attack in Pattani province was captured by surveillance cameras that authorities have installed throughout Thailand’s three southernmost provinces, where an Islamist insurgency that erupted in 2004 has claimed more than 5,000 lives.

The footage shows pickup trucks tailing a pair of motorbikes that soldiers were riding as they returned from a military patrol to their base.

As the trucks pulled up alongside the motorbikes, armed men opened fire on the soldiers at close range and shot them dead. They then stole their victims’ rifles, which they used to fire at another oncoming security vehicle before fleeing.

Police Col. Kong-att Suwannakha said three motorbikes were attacked in total, each carrying two soldiers. Police were looking for about 15 suspects in connection with the attack but had made no arrests.

The shooting is among several attacks by suspected militants since the Islamic holy month of Ramadan began last week.

A roadside bomb on Wednesday in nearby Yala province killed 5 policemen.

The three southern provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat are the only Muslim-dominated provinces in the largely Buddhist country.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

Karnataka: More Anti-Christian Violence. An Appeal to the New President of India

Since 2012, 20 incidents perpetrated in the State by ultra-nationalist Hindus. The latest victims are six Pentecostal Christian families (Gadag district) and an evangelical community (Bijapur district), attacked in the privacy of their homes. False accusations of forced conversion trigger violence.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) — There have been 20 incidents of violence against Christians in Karnataka since 2012. The script says Sajan George, the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), is always the same: “systematic attacks against the Christian community; blatant invasions of privacy by Hindu extremists in the sacred intimacy of homes, physical and verbal violence against a helpless and inoffensive community “. According to the president of the GCIC, they are “serious violations of the rights of every Indian citizen, and a debasement of human dignity of Christians.” To stop these incidents, the Protestant leader has also appealed to Pranab Mukherjee, India’s new president, to “protect and defend the rights enshrined in our Constitution.” In his speech yesterday at the official inauguration, the newly elected head of state has promised to act as guarantor and guardian of the Indian Charter.

The last two attacks date to July 22. In the first case, the victims are six families of Gypsy Church, a Pentecostal Church of Gadag district. A dozen activists of the Sangh Parivar raided the home of a Christian, during a prayer service. Hindu nationalists have beaten and insulted those present, accusing them of practicing forced conversions. Three faithful — Lokappa Badagar, Sagarappa Bagadar and Kamalavva Badagar — were seriously injured and admitted to a local hospital. Meanwhile, Hindus have registered a complaint with the police in Gadag, declaring that Christians were practicing forced conversions.

Two days later, activists of the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP, Sangh Parivar affiliates) urged the police to detain the six families. The agents arrested 14 Christians, and then released them the next morning. However, the police have opened an investigation into the families.

The second incident happened in the village of Muddebehal (Bijapur district), against the Evangelical Church of Salvation Rev. Manjappa Byadagi. Led by a man named Ashok, activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) raided the church, beating the faithful and destroying the Bibles. After the attack, the Hindus paid a man to declare that he was forced to convert to Christianity. Recording the false testimony in a video, the activists phoned the police to report the Muddebehal Christians. At that point, the inspector Basavaraj Lamani arrested pastor Byadgi, his wife, young son and one church member. After a day of detention, the officers released the four Christians, but ordered them to stop their prayer services.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]

Far East

Philippines: Mindanao: 16 Dead in Clashes Between Army and Abu Sayyaf Islamic Extremists

Violence centered in Sumisip, an agricultural town in the province of Basilan. The area is famous for its rubber plantations. Attacks organized by farmer who has joined the Islamic rebels to protest against the controversial land reform.

Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) — The death toll from clashes between the Philippine military and Muslim Abu Sayyaf guerrillas that began yesterday in the town of Sumisip, (Basilan, Mindanao) now stands at 16 people. Among the 12 killed were soldiers. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, head of the troops in Western Mindanao, said fighting is still in progress in the area of Sumisip. In efforts to defeat the militants the army has intervened with helicopter gunships.

The violence broke out in one of the largest rubber plantations in the region, the scene of other attacks by Islamists which cost 5 dead and 22 wounded, mostly farmers. According to the army Wyms Wakil, the former head of the cooperative that manages the plantation now one of the local leaders of Abu Sayyaf, is orchestrating the assaults on soldiers and workers.

Sumisip was one of the first cities to apply the agricultural land reform that provides for the subdivision of large plantations among the small farmers, but to date no criteria for the allocation of land has been set. This has encouraged every village in the area to claim their share, resulting in clashes between rival factions. The province of Basilan is predominantly Muslim, but most of the villages and settlements inside the plantations are Christian. Local sources explain that the local Muslims who were previously excluded from the land are using the name of Abu Sayyaf and threats against Christians to draw attention to the problem of land and push the government to clarify their reform in favor of the peasants and not landowners.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]


TSA Let 25 Illegal Aliens Attend Flight School Owned by Illegal Alien

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved flight training for 25 illegal aliens at a Boston-area flight school that was owned by yet another illegal alien, according to the Government Accountability Office.

The illegal-alien flight-school attendees included eight who had entered the country illegally and 17 who had overstayed their allowed period of admission into the United States, according to an audit by the GAO.

Three of the illegal aliens were actually able to get pilot’s licenses.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


A Brief History & Description of Agenda 21

“Sustainable Development” — The New Code-Word for Stealth Marxism

Whether there is such a thing as a world plan for socialist domination must be answered by individuals pondering recent, sometimes strange confluences of world events. But if there were such a plan, would it appear in any clearer form that the United Nations Agenda 21 program?

Agenda 21 is a plank of UN policy encouraging the globe to embrace Sustainable Development, which conservatives understand as a code word for global Marxism:

Sustainable development sounds like a nice idea, right? It sounds nice, until you scratch the surface and find that Agenda 21 and sustainable development are really cloaked plans to impose the tenets of social justice/socialism on the world. At risk from Agenda 21; Private property ownership; Single-family homes; Private car ownership and individual travel choices; and Privately owned farms.

Agenda 21 remains to many, classic Marxism which must be rejected—as the Alabama legislature did recently.


There are 27 “Principles,” and 40 chapters which comprise the Agenda 21 manifesto. The tenor of all these are summed up as a call for international government which defers to poorer states at the cost of richer ones, as human populations are reduced to save the environment while private property rights are canceled.

Another writer gives his summary:

“Agenda 21 is the global blueprint for changing the way we “live, eat, learn and communicate” because we must “save the earth.” Here everything is heavily controlled by the government: water, electricity and transportation are just some of the areas of concentration that are targeted. So what exactly does Agenda 21 entail? It consists of 115 specific programs designed to facilitate, or to force, the transition to Sustainable Development. The objective, clearly enunciated by the leaders of the Earth Summit, is to bring about a change in the present system of independent nations. Agenda 21 is broken into 8 sections: Agriculture; Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management; Education; Energy and Housing; Population; Public Health; Resources and Recycling; Transportation, Sustainable Economic Development.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Why the IOC Will Never Memorialize the ‘72 Munich Massacre

By Guri Weinberg

Recently, new information about the Munich Massacre at the 1972 Olympic Games was released by German police as a result of pressure from German investigative reporters. It was reported that the “Black September” terrorists were helped by a Nazi group in Germany to get fake IDs, weapons and access to the Olympic Village.

This was not too shocking, as the head of the IOC in 1972 was Avery Brundage, a Nazi sympathizer and anti-Semite. His protege, Juan Samaranch, eventually served the second longest IOC term as president, but his support of Nazis and the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco was kept a dirty secret. Most IOC members knew the truth but stayed silent because he organized a regal lifestyle for them — with money diverted from sport.

‘I want all of you to lose your jobs and be replaced by real Olympians who care about the athletes and believe in the Olympic charter.’


Another interesting fact is that Abu Iyad, one of the co-founders of the PLO, has said publicly that the reason “Black September” chose the 1972 Olympics as the stage for their hostage plot was because the PLO’s request to the IOC for inclusion of the Palestinian delegation at the Olympic Games was completely ignored. This snub from the IOC came at a time when tension was at a boiling point in the Middle East. Yet, having incited the PLO, the IOC denied the Israeli government’s request for security for the athletes.

In 1996, I, along with other Munich orphans and three of the widows, were invited for the first time to the Olympic Games in Atlanta. Before the Opening Ceremony, we met with Alex Gilady. Gilady has been a member of the IOC’s Radio and Television Commission since 1984 and has been the senior vice president of NBC Sports since 1996.

I have known Mr. Gilady since I was a kid; in fact, I grew up with his daughter. He had been supportive in the past regarding our plea for a moment of silence during the Opening Ceremonies, so we arrived with high hopes. Gilady informed us that a moment of silence was not possible because if the IOC had a moment of silence for the Israeli athletes, they would also have to do the same for the Palestinians who died at the Olympics in 1972.

My mother said, “But no Palestinian athletes died.”

Gilady responded, “Well, there were Palestinians who died at the 1972 Olympics.”

I heard one of the widows say to Gilady, “Are you equating the murder of my husband to the terrorists that killed him?”


Then Ilana Romano burst out with a cry that has haunted me to this day…

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]